UTILITIES: Escape Artist

In Argentina's Government House, bigwigs crowded around a table in the glittering Salon Blanco. The Argentine Cabinet was there, along with U.S. Ambassador George Messersmith and President Juan Domingo Peron. But the star of the show was a private U.S. citizen with an outlandish name, Sosthenes Behn, razor-sharp president of International Telephone & Telegraph Corp. For the third time in five years, he was giving U.S. businessmen a lesson on how to liquidate foreign investments at a profit.

When the paper signing was over last week, Argentina owned the United River Plate...

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